Advanced Audio Effects | Aaron Carstensen | Skillshare

Playback Speed

  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

4 Lessons (27m)
    • 1. Intro

    • 2. Layers

    • 3. Dynamics

    • 4. Space

  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels
  • Beg/Int level
  • Int/Adv level

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class

This class is for more advanced students who know the basics behind their audio effects and want to combine them to create more powerful sounds. This class will show you an advanced effects chain for a louder and fuller lead sound. Includes layering, dynamics processing and parallel effects chains. Pay close attention to your compression settings!

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Aaron Carstensen

Keep making music


Hi! my name is Aaron and I am an electronic music producer with 8 years of experience. I have completed my degree in electronic production from the Berklee School of Music and am currently working on my trap metal project Xstitch.

The most recent release here is my Quick Mix: Low End video tutorial. I am starting the Quick Mix series as a way to quickly showcase practical techniques so if you like the first one I'd be happy to make more.

If you've gotten any use from my lessons it would be super helpful to get a follow on Instagram, I'm most active there.

As always let me know if there is something you are stuck on or want me to cover I would be happy to make a tutorial on the topic.

Keep making music!

See full profile

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • Exceeded!
  • Yes
  • Somewhat
  • Not really
Reviews Archive

In October 2018, we updated our review system to improve the way we collect feedback. Below are the reviews written before that update.

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


1. Intro: What's up, guys? Aaron here. This tutorial is going to be advanced effects for lead since so if you have not looked at my, um, synth layering tutorial, I'd go back and look at that. You can dio this in all d A W's. It's easiest to follow along and able to, obviously, But if you take a minute, you can transfer everything over just positive video figured out. So I'm gonna take a pluck sound. I'll play it right now and we're gonna make it sound big. So there's gonna be the final sound. Um, I'm gonna show you some optional stuff to some people. Don't. Not everyone would agree on the way to do things, but that always happens. So I'm going to show you a way ways to do it. And then you can pick what you want to take and take off. It's just to get a bigger sound, a wider sound on, Basically, just make your lead sounds kind of at least plucks like, thicker and bigger. So here's the sound. So it's, um, simple, able to built in sounds. I didn't make any sounds for this, Um, and then that shaker is just a little finger. Things keep time. So I'm gonna go through the whole rack in the next video. But that's what we're gonna learn today How to make that sound. That kind of makes that kind of sound. I'm not Make that exact sound. So continue to the next video and I'll start breaking it down from square one. All right, guys, peace out. 2. Layers: our guys in this video I'm gonna break down the layering aspect of the lead sound the pluck sound. Um, I have a whole tutorial on synth layering. You can go look at that. But I'm just gonna go over real quickly. Eso here's on this sound I'm gonna take So here's the sound at the end. All right? So I'm gonna take everything off and just start with the, um the sounds I picked so unable to. And if you come over to the in smit rack are you can create an instrument racked by dragging a sound into, uh, the, uh onto a track and then pressing control g on whatever instrument you picked, it will create an instrument rack, and from there you can drag on other instruments. So, uh, that's in my other tutorial, More in depth. Uhm So what I picked here is just a simple blues guitar, just a pack, uh, built in sound. It's not particularly special. It's pretty boring. Um, but then I wanted a little more like end, so I layered in this sound. So that's just like a kind of like Corsi pluck sound. I took out the attack on that one. I panned the the main pluck to the left and then this other one to the right That gives the whole sound more space if you're here. Also, the the, um, secondary pluck is wider. Um, so this is a good technique. Sounds on their own can be a little boring, especially if they're built in. So if you're creating your own sounds, I would even still layer stuff. Um, eso panning each one out, Get the volumes. Correct. This was way loud. Um, if you here it's pretty much drowning out the main pluck. And I wanted that it to be a pluck sound. Still not like that whole river Be tail panning him too far can get you, um, e. I mean, it's an interesting sound, I guess, but it's it's too much. They're two separate, so I I'd panam a little bit to get a little bit of with. And that's kind of thing is you're going along. You're not just some people want wide sounds. You're not just taking a utility module and cranking up the stereo on that. You want to make it wider as it goes along. So there's just a tiny change, I'll play, Um, so it's just a little bit. So if you listen to that, it's It sounds pretty similar, but that's one of the little steps you want to take. Not gonna go into the sound design on this one here because it's just a built in sound. Um, so, like in my my layering tutorial, I showed you can eq you or put any effects on each sound. So I look past both took out some of the there's like a really annoying at, like two K on This is really sounded low quality kind of two piercing. So I took out some of that. So that's a quick overview of the the just the sound layering. So make sure you're layering a sound to get these full, um, the's fuller leads and stuff like that. Because all these sounds you hear on tracks aren't just one, since usually they're gonna have multiple voices. Multiple aspects to them, makes it easier to mix. Makes it sound better. All right. Next video. I'm going to do, um, the e que on the whole thing compression kind of dynamics and show you what we're doing there before we get into, like space effects like delays and re verbs, all that stuff. So it's part of the process. And then after that, uh, we'll go into the fund like reverb and delays and how that, like some layering or parallel effects you can do to get a better sound, so continue in the next video. 3. Dynamics: All right, guys. Um so there's gonna b e que and compression on the whole on the whole pluck sound. We did the layers last video, and we did individually accused, but we're gonna get you the whole thing. So what I did it is for here that at where I cut it, I just give it a cut at four k, cause it was pretty loud before. So that's with the four k cut. That's without to me, it's just a little too much. And I already you could lope. I would low pass. I'm sorry, I would high pass this, um, but I did that in the in the individual one, so I didn't do it here. But that's always a good idea. Keep it out of that low. And if you have headphones on, you might not be able to hear the low end well, so I'd recommend finding bigger speakers that have that cause. You'll be surprised how much sneaks through that you can't hear on headphones, so e que to taste. Maybe you might even want to give it some, like maybe it's too, too dull, given some sparkle at the top. Um, cut out like, uh, around 408 100 for clarity. I kept it in because it's pretty. It's not a super complex sound. It's It's kind of just plucking right around there. So I kept it. So e que, um, compressor is important for this sound. I gave it a lot of space so we can Look, this is after the compressor thing is no compressor. So listen, you gotta listen closely. No compressor with compressor. So what the compressor is doing is I gave it three d B toe 133 to 1 ratio around there, and then I gave it 25 milliseconds of attack. I took the knee all the way off, and then I gave it about 100 milliseconds of release. So the reason I did that is because each time you put a compressor down and think about what the goal is, um, with this particular sound, because a pluck sound, I want that pluck to come through. So it around 25 milliseconds is where, um will give sufficient room for that initial pluck to come through. And then this release isn't crazy. So the pluck will come through and will compress a little bit and give me kind of a little bit. Not too much tail. I don't want that tail a ton. Um, because this compression, this initial compression is just to get it sounding thicker. I want it to sound plucky. It just kind of It's not like, um, what do you How would you say it's And I'm not trying to squash the sound for this one. I'll do that a little bit later in post compression, but for now, I wanted to keep it plucky. Eso the knee will be at nothing so it doesn't catch. It doesn't slide into it. It's hard compression. Um, so that's gonna make it snappy and give a lot of that transient. So if you're doing like, um, a lead sound, I'd give it. I give it some room. If you're doing a background sound, you could crush the beginning a little bit. It's it's practiced with the compression. It's you got it. I would recommend talking yourself out. What what are you doing with the compression? Because it's easy to throw it on and not know what you're doing. So that's this is pretty simple. Um uh, dynamics kind of stuff So this is pre effects are like pre like reverb space effects, that kind of stuff, but all of its necessary. So it doesn't if you put these on and off, it doesn't sound hugely different. Listen to the sides. Listen to the sides of the sound. It sounds fuller, but unlike that snare are the the guitar pluck. Is is a little plucky. Er, so it's all about small additions along the way. Um, next video is going to be space effects. Um, and then parallel. We go into parallel. I do parallel reverb, and I'll explain why next one? And then we'll do a final compression at the end to give it that body. So next video is gonna be the more fun stuff, so continue on. 4. Space: our guys is gonna be the like space effect, delay, reverb, all that kind of stuff. Before I go into it, I'm gonna I want to show you this. This effect right here. What this delay is doing is if you'll see, I'm gonna play you with it off first. So that's what the off and is with it on. So if you listen, it sounds wider. It sounds way wider. This, um, delay method is sometimes too much. It's pretty wide. It makes it pretty full sounding, but it's not always a good idea to use it in a mix. I know some people who hate it. Some people really like it. So this one's kind of up to you. I'd be careful with it. That's why I'm kind of make this kind of an optional step. But what this is doing is the delays on 100%. And then you I changed the delay, um, mode to from sink to time. So on the left, it is one millisecond, so you can't really hear it at all on the right. It's five milliseconds. So what we're doing is there's two signals now with a tiny delay. Um it's so what it does is your ear picks it up at a little bit different time, and it sounds really wide. So what you can do is adjust this time and you'll hear it. That's what it is. It's that hitting left right real fast. I turned the milliseconds up so you can hear what it's doing. But it's that that left right hit turned down release short and your ear picks it up just like a at a little different times. So it sounds wide, so I'll just leave it on. But just be aware on that one. That's that one's, uh, use your discretion on that one. Um, next, uh, just a ping pong delay. So with this, put it on whatever time you think. Sounds good. You know, um, they'll have different ways to do it, but I'm sure you know how toe mess with the delay. So what I do is is look for a spot that, um is pretty small. And then don't. As you turn this up, you'll get more of the delays and less of the dry signal, so I keep it pretty minimal. So around like 30 25 to 35% depending on the sound. And then so you get and you'll get the delays in the kind of the background you don't wanna overdo it and so later will bring some compression in to get that sound more. Because sometimes you hear, um, delays that sound really loud. And you won't get that by just turning this up to 50 cause 100. You'll lose theory journal sound. So we'll put on compression later. So, um, give it you want to give it a little bit? You know, you can hear the difference. It just kind of fills out the background and then feedback. I'd give it enough so it just dies out before, dies out as the next group of notes come in. So if you have this up to 100 it's going to start rolling over onto itself, and it gets messy, so you want it to just kind of, like die right as the next group comes in. So it's always refreshing, um, on itself, and it's not. It's not dying too fast. So it's not just like 11 delay, because then you don't get that nice background ambience. So, um, depending on how faster track is how fast everything was moving. You might need less. You might need more. Sometimes it's only like 2% feedback. Or sometimes it's like 50 or 60 because there's depending on the space between the groups of notes. Like a little bit is going to roll over usually, but kind of just faded into that next one. So that's pretty straightforward. What I'm gonna show you now is one sec. Um So here's reverb on and off. So this is off. That's with the on. So that's a lot of reverb, So I might actually I turn that down a little bit. Um, So what this is doing is if you put an audio effect into able to and then you press control G, um, it'll create an audio effect rack like this, um, with the chain. So I'm just gonna do this again for you. Some you take a reverb, throw it down, it's got its nash. So I'm president Control G on the effect rack. Press this button, and so you have a chain. So what this means is that the signal is going in one through here, and then what you can do is create a new chain, and this will be a dry chain. So you're gonna take your reverb chain, pull it up 100%. So this Jane is just reverb. This change is just the dry signal. So why do we want to do that? So we can put effects now on this reverb and we could e que the reverb. Basically, that's what we're gonna do, so I'll show you. So this is at 100% now. I'm gonna give it some just some size. You can hear it. So what I'm thinking about right here is, um, you can turn the period of the lay up a little bit. The size kind of gives it a pre delay. That's in a bilton. Um, this is a pluck sound. So I want the pluck audible, but I want that nice river be sound. So give it a little pre delay so that there's gives it space at the beginning. If it was like a really fluid lead, you could give it less pre delay, give it kind of less room. Um, this is where it's cool, though, so I'm gonna do two things. Actually, I'm gonna pull in some reverb. Take it out of here because it could get a little messy there, so we don't want to take you the whole sound. We just want to take away parts like this. CQ is fine, but sometimes there's parts that stick out. You can't. It's not a super great e que device, Um, and then another thing we're going to do is put a compressor on the reverb and then open this up. You're going to side chain the reverb to itself. So why are we doing that? So when we now, when we play this, I'll give it even more. Get a lot of reverb just for this. So what this is doing is we're citing into itself. So when when the Pluck plays, the reverb is ducking its its side chaining. So that's it's taking the signal from the pluck. See how it kind of it? Almost almost. It's not really a gate, but it sounds like it's kind of gated and then jumps in. It goes like it kind of debt. Uh uh, that little paws. So that's what we're doing with the compressing compression. Sorry. So what that's doing is kind of giving it even more. Ah, space. So we keep the plucks intensity because if you listen to these, like sounds these days, like any GM and stuff there, they're so big and they're dry at the at the like, the hit of it. But they're not washed out that that's they have a lot of reverb. That kind of fills up the whole track, but they're not washed out. That's that's we want to keep that dry sound, Um, because it gives it character. It makes it fatter and mix it, um it gives it more punch. And we want we want big. We want it big. So we again, we have options here to like, um Pan and we have volume. If you want to turn down the reverb, that's kind of like the dry wet would be. So whatever you want to do with that, um, ratio once again how hard you're gonna compress it. Release? I give it. I mean, give it some room. I keep the attack low cause you don't want it on that initial initial pluck. But this release is kind of going to be your new pre delay. So that's a big one. Is this is this will get your sounds like wider. We're not wider, just, um, larger. Their sound bigger and they'll sound like they're in a room, but they won't be washed out, and that's a super important thing. So after we've done on the space effects at the very end, I like to put compression on the whole thing. So here's this one's gonna be hard to hear because it's pretty subtle. I have only 1.5 ratio. Um, so as with no, so listen to the sides in the reverb with none with it. So as you can hear, it's it's bringing the whole, That's what. I'm kind of squashing it a tiny bit because that if once the pluck, I like that big, making the pluck sound should be prominent before this, and then you can kind of ease the pluck back. And if you kind of just squash everything together just a tiny bit, um, it's going to sound bigger, and it's gonna sound louder and it's gonna sound better. So what I did on this ratio is 1.5. So that's less than the default, which is 2 to 1. I brought it down pretty low. Let's see. So this these are the plucks and then these, like fade outs is gonna be reverb and delay. And so 10 milliseconds. I gave it 10 milliseconds of attack because that's a little bit, a little tiny bit at the beginning. It's not super aggressive. It's not going to squash the whole thing. But it's not leaving a huge amount of room, Um, for the whole pluck sound to come through. Like if I did it at, like, 30 or 40 milliseconds and then released, I kept it pretty low. I want because I want that reverb tail and delay tail to pop back up. So file is putting this up here. You don't really hear it as much. You kind of hear the end of the reverb come in. So I keep it around there to just kind of get get that, given just some thickness. So I'm It's pretty subtle, but this is a nice way if you want. If you're if you want those delays in those re verbs to sound bigger and you want more of that sound without turning up the dry wet on that at those actual settings, that's what this like post compression is gonna be It's gonna make it sound really good. Um, so that is kind of that's kind of my process. Simplified of how? How to get a bigger sounding lead practice with each of these, um, ideas. And then, like I said, this delay to make it wider is up to you. Depends on the mix. Do whatever you want. Live your life. You know, I don't I don't mind. Um but yes. So keep practicing, guys. That's gonna be the advanced effects tutorial and peace out.